Continuity and history be damned, the puppets are brought back out of retirement for the sixth entry in the franchise with all the favourites present including Leech Woman who had previously been burnt to ashes. Absent is Torch and Decapitron and while their presence is sort of missed, it is Guy Rolfe as Andre Toulon who’s absence is most keenly felt. In his place is George Peck as Dr. Magrew, the new puppet master and a man who is envious of Toulon’s successes in animating his creations. Magrew wishes to copy it, to make his own sentient puppets, yet he goes about it in the wrong way and as such, he brings down the wrath of those already in his possession including Blade, Pinhead, Tunneler, Jester and Six Shooter.
As far as Puppet Master films are concerned, this entry was not all that bad. We find the puppets in a different scenario than what we have seen previous, prisoners more than anything else. Where before, Toulon and everyone that followed gave them freedom to do as they chose, Magrew keeps them under lock and key unless they are performing in his show. The film also introduces Magrew’s ultimate downfall in Josh Green’s character, Tank. Tank is a simple man who ends up working for Magrew, falling in love with his daughter Jane as played by Emily Harrison and then unbeknownst to him, is destined to become a puppet himself. Despite being made in 1998, the film is akin to any horror film you might have seen from the mid-1980’s with the same cheesy dialogue and terrible acting by the supporting cast. In a strange way, it lends a bit of charm to the picture, but you would think that after being six pictures in, the films would end up being a little more contemporary, if not better.
Once again, the film is not frightening in the slightest, nor is it even comical this time around. Instead, the movie plays out like a made for T.V. drama with a little blood here and there, featuring nothing you would not see on any local cable station. At this point you have to wonder why Full Moon would not simply pack it up and call it a day, especially after the fifth installment, yet they must have been making money on these as four more pictures would follow. Sure, it was good seeing the puppets back in action, but ultimately despite the shakeup in scene, setting and story and the fact that it was entertaining, there is nothing here that has not really been seen before. Calling this a horror film is a bit of stretch at this point as it is more camp than anything else, but marketing it as anything other than a horror could have posed a problem. The only thing that would make one want to watch this is nostalgia, which is probably just as good a reason as any. A fun watch, but nothing more.
2.5 out of 5